Using seaweed to treat wounds dates back to Roman times. Alginate extracted from kelp and other brown seaweeds are still used in wound dressings today for skin grafts, burns and other difficult wounds. Biocompatible and biomimetic, alginate forms a gel when exposed to a wound, keeping tissue moist to speed healing, and reduce pain and trauma during dressing changes.
Microgels, a biodegradable biomaterial formed from microscopic polymer filaments, has broad and powerful applications in cell analysis, cell culture, drug delivery, and materials engineering.
Putting the two together to form alginate microgels could enable scientists to make important new inroads in the field of tissue engineering. But when it comes to forming microgels, the gelation process of alginate literally gets in the way.
Michigan Tech researcher Chang Kyoung Choihas found a way around the problem. …